I know, you’re thinking of that weird European store with the asexual models, but I’m talking about bread proofing baskets. These have been on my wish list for a long time but have always been something of a luxury. Sure, I could proof bread other ways. Just like you could prepare a gourmet meal with plastic cutlery, a foil roasting pan, and a can of sterno. This simple device is actually much more complex than you think:

First, the round coils of willow or cane mean that a fraction of the basket’s surface is touching the bread while it proofs. “What’s that mean for me, Bob?” you would ask if my name was Bob. Well, it’s not but I’ll tell you anyway. It means you won’t have to curse, sweat, and ultimately rip your sticky bread out of the banneton when it’s ready to bake, deflating and ruining it. But there’s more! The little gaps between the coils let air circulate to the surface of the bread. Imagine a log cabin before Pa fills the chinks with tar and cotton. Getting a little air to the bread means the crust can thicken just a bit, making it easier to score and creating a better bloom and ear when it bakes. Wanna see?

And you can see the third benefit of the banneton: cool flour lines. Some people go to extremes and make stencils so they can dust flour on their bread. Neat, but I like the rusticity of the banneton rings. Can you tell I’m in love with my new banneton? My wife gave me two for my birthday and HA HA the joke’s on her because I’m going to run off and marry my bannetons. Now lemme just try to get this thing into a wedding dress…

Writer, architect, father, husband.

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One comment on “Banneton
  1. akamonsoon says:

    How cool is that? I had never heard of a banneton before. Once in a great while I’ll make a handmade load of bread. This little item would definitely come in handy!

    That loaf of bread looks absolutely delicious! My mouth is watering.

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